Opening the cupboard in my student flat is always combined with a small risk. Bottles and boxes filled with all kinds of cleaning products piling up to a rickety pillar, always on the brink of collapsing and smothering me with it. Glass cleaner, toilet cleaning, oven cleaner, drain cleaners and much more could be found there. Despite the big amount of cleaning materials which can be found in any household, their toxic ingredients bear a risk for us and the environment. They act through strong surfactants and are processed on the basis of crude oil. On top of that the containing artificial ingredients are also harmful for our skin and mucous membrane.

But despite all this, there is also good news – sustainable and green alternatives to aggressive standard cleaning agents are less complicated to produce on your own than you might think. In the following article is described how you can make your own all-purpose cleaner on the basis of only three ingredients which are harmless to your health.

What do you need?

  • 3 Oranges (alternatively you could also use lemons or mix both)
  • 100ml Essence of vinegar
  • 400ml Water

Work materials

  • Bottle made of glass or another container for filling up the all-purpose cleaner
  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Peeler
  • Old Spray bottle from any cleaning material
  • Measuring cup
  • Shot glass
  • sieve
  • hopper
  • bowl

Step 1

First of all, you have to peel the Oranges. For me it works best with a peeler, but you can also use a knife. In this guide we only use oranges but feel free to develop your own aroma experimenting with other citrus fruits. The essentials oils are contained in the skin of the fruits which will later help dissolving the fat and lead to perfectly clean surfaces.  

Step 2

The next step is to take your orange peel and put it in your empty container. Now mix essence vinegar and water and pour it over the orange peel. It is important that the orange peel is completely covered by the liquid because otherwise it will oxidize and sooner get mouldy. For weighting down the peel, you can use a small shot glass.

Step 3

The mixture has to rest seal tightly in the bottle for about 2 weeks. While it is resting, the vinegar dissolves the essential oils out of the orange peel. When the liquid decolorizes slightly your all-purpose cleaner is nearly done. Pass the liquid through a sieve and then pour it into an old spray bottle. Ready is your first homemade all-purpose cleaner which can be used for any surface in your flat.

Tip: Whenever your all-purpose cleaner is empty, start a new mixture so you don’t have to wait until it is ready again.

Check out our zero waste articles for more inspiration!